If there is one common theme throughout all the topics we are covering in this course, risk would be it. Every issue we are studying have effects on those who are a part of it. Social risk deals with those issues and the negative aspects society see as leading to an undesired outcome. An important term/idea connected to social risk that I think our team members will benefit from is “risk society”. This terms defines groups in society that are passionate about any certain events negative outcomes and how it will affect communities, nations, or the entire world. I would say it would be beneficial for every team member to research and understand their risk societies points of view. By doing this I think we could all expand our knowledge on the risks others see within the issue being study which would in turn help to better organize our thoughts and feelings on the issue at hand.
Social Risk: Social Risk arises when organizational behavior or the actions of others in its operating environment create vulnerabilities, which stakeholders might identify and apply pressure on in order for it to change its behavior. An organization can reduce risk by introducing control and countermeasure systems.
Risk Society: This term was coined in the 90’s to describe how society members organized themselves into groups based on social issues they foresaw as being risky in the future.
Two authors associated with this term are Anthony Giddens and Ulrich Beck. Both of these men wrote books concerning and addressing modernity and the environmental concerns that were relevant the time.
Anthony Giddens definition of risk society is “a society increasingly preoccupied with the future and also with safety, which generates the notion of risk”
Ulrich Becks definition is “ a systematic way of dealing with hazards and insecurities induced and introduced by modernization itself”.
It took me awhile to find a form of art that dealt with the topic of genetic engineering but when I came across Gattaca, a movie made in 1997 staring Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman my attention was captured. Although the plot for this story is very Hollywood and at points a little hokey, the general idea behind it got me thinking. The main idea behind this movie is categorizing humans at birth to assigning them to jobs they will be capable of in the future. When Ethan Hawkes character is diagnosed with a heart condition among other things, society sees him unfit for many jobs, including the one he wants which is to go into space. The world he is living in is very discriminatory towards certain races, genders, etc so he sets out to make it possible for him to obtain his dream job. He ends up using samples of skin, hair, urine, etc from a formal athlete who is now crippled to get himself in the door for the space program. The most relatable topic in this movie to the issues that connected to genetic engineering is the fact that a lot of people see this science as very discriminatory towards certain genes.
I think the part that really grabbed my attention is when Vincent Freemen (the main character) was born. The scene shows a nurse poking the newly born baby, drawing blood and dropping it in vile. It is instantly processed and the parents are able to know all their babies’ flaws and foreseeable issues. The nurse then rattles off percentages reveling the probability the baby will have A.D.D, depression, and a heart disease that has a life expectancy of 30 years old. It was so shocking to see one of the happiest moments of a parent’s life being destroyed by science, and genetic testing. I think it is important for parents to know if their child has a disease such as Vincent in order to help the baby live the healthiest life they can but to use these other aspects to categorize humans is unthinkable to me. I realize this is unrealistic, but what is not is that fact that people are interested in making genetically perfect humans cutting diversity and leaving nothing to nature.
After doing some investigation about keeping agro-biodiversity alive and thriving and why it is important I have a new mind set on this issue. As I read through many articles I realized that there are some many reasons why this sort of effort is so desperately needed. Not only did I uncover the details of what makes this important, but it was also brought to my attention the people that are involved in this effort. Thank goodness there are groups such as Biodiversity International and many others that are doing their part with research and lending a hand. Groups like this are doing field work and visiting communities in developing countries to better understand how they can help the people, and what these people need to in order to continue the harvesting of a wide variety of plants. One video in particular about quinoa growing and harvesting in Bolivia caught my attention. The people of Bolivia have grown Quinoa for generations, but in recent times the demand for white quinoa has been on the rise. This has caused the need for other varieties of this crop to go down, which has lead to the disappearance of many of the varieties. With the help of Biodiversity International these people have gone back to their roots, and have started growing many variates again. This group has set up an instinctive system for these people. The people grow these wonderful, diverse variertes and the group provides them with the tools they need.
It is going to take more groups like this to help spread the knowledge of the importance of keeping agro biodiversity alive. By resorting to growing only a certain kind of seed we putting our world in great danger. Limiting variety increases the chances of the worlds seed supply to become weak, unable to handle the elements and sparse.
Bioversity International, Vicky Rengifo. 2011 Regional Offices for the Americas. 8:44.
In 2002 an event was held in Brazil called the World Social Forum. This event was led by group of passionate, dedicated, and concerned individuals from all over the world. Their areas of concern and expertise were all different, but they all were all their for the same reason, to work together to promote and accelerate positive changes all over the world. After watching the film, Another World is Possible I was fully aware not only of how important all of this issues are to the people in the conference, but that they should be a concern to all of us as well. I was highly disturbed that the United State did not take more action on making this conference more known to the public, and expressing its concern for this issues as . Just a few of the issues that were discussed were that biotechnology, human rights, globalization and unifying our world instead of continuing to distancing ourselves from one another. It should be recognized that these all tremendous issues that will take years to make progress on, but without a public display like this, some people might not realize the severity of the issue, or even realize it exists. For me, the film was a real eye opener. It brought to my attention a few world wide issues I was not aware of.